CHANGE OF TACK

Bitok plots new role for Moim as Malkia transition hits fever pitch

Malkia will have a new-look team during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games if Bitok is to be believed.

In Summary

•Moim's role as an outside hitter requires the player to hit and block on the front left side of the court.

•Now 33, Moim's career is slowly winding down and the transition to the national team further puts her position under threat after cementing her place both at the club and Malkia for more than a decade.

 

Lorine Chebet, Sharon Chepchumba and Emmaculate Nekesa celebrate their score against Serbia
Lorine Chebet, Sharon Chepchumba and Emmaculate Nekesa celebrate their score against Serbia
Image: /HANDOUT

Malkia Strikers' coach Paul Bitok has hinted at a new role for captain Mercy Moim after the World Championships as he seeks to prolong her stay in the national team. 

Moim, who is poised to lead the Kenya Queens at the 19th edition of the global show starting Friday, is Malkia's go-to outside hitter. Malkia, who are the record African champions, face hosts the Netherlands in the opening match.

"Replacing a player of Moim's quality will really be difficult and might take some time. Despite her age, I believe she still has a lot to offer as we try to integrate the juniors into the team. She can as well fit into the libero position and her flexibility is never in doubt," Bitok pointed out.

Moim's role as an outside hitter requires the player to hit and block on the front left side of the court. Now 33, Moim's career is slowly winding down and the transition to the national team further puts her position under threat after cementing her place both at the club and Malkia for more than a decade.

"She is better in reception—an attribute demanded from a libero. Reception has been Kenya's Achilles heel over the years," the tactician noted. 

Malkia will have a new-look team during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games if Bitok is to be believed.

The World Championship could also be the last assignment for players like Noel Murambi and Violet Makuto who could follow Jane Wacu out. Wacu, the most decorated Malkia player in a career spanning 16 years, announced retirement mid-this year.

"We have more than five new players and the future looks bright. The likes of Sharon Chepchumba are experienced but still in their early 20s. This is the team to watch in Paris."

Malkia on Tuesday landed in the Netherlands after their brief stop in Serbia that saw the team round off their tour with a 3-0 emphatic victory over Serbia 'B' team.

Kenya have made seven appearances at the global event but have never made it to the second round of the quadrennial showpiece.

Their only victory came in 2018 against Kazakhstan and Malkia have earmarked matches against Puerto Rico and Cameroon as winnable. 

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